Tag Archives: Mandelbrot

Edge of the Knife

The universe may not be connected in the Dirk Gently sense (or perhaps it is, wouldn’t that be fun?), but I can’t help but be bemused by those occasional moments of synchronicity. Just striking coincidences — almost certainly — and just a product of one’s own mind connecting personal dots, but still.

When a moment of such synchronicity involves favorite TV shows, South Park, NCIS, and Doctor Who, plus the Mandelbrot Set, it covers a lot of bases and adds an extra special element of cosmic delight. (Not to mention all the options for the lead image! (Except not really. Gotta be the new The Doctor!))

Fundamentally, it’s all another riff on an old standard: Yin-Yang.

Continue reading


Chaotic Thoughts

Pierre-Simon Laplace

Tick-Tock, goes the clock…

Last time, in the Determined Thoughts post, I talked about physical determinism, which is the idea that the universe is a machine — like a clock — that is ticking off the minutes of existence. The famous French mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace (the “French Newton”), was the first (in 1814) to articulate the idea of causal determinism.

We now know that quantum mechanics makes it impossible to know both the position and motion of particles, so Laplace’s Demon isn’t possible at the sub-atomic level. (It might be possible at the classical or macro level — that’s an open question.) Sometimes the issue of chaos theory is proposed as a counter-argument to determinism, so I thought I’d cover what chaos theory is and how it might apply.

If you want to skip to the punchline, the answer is it doesn’t apply at all.

Continue reading